Mike Bordin spoke to the influential Brazilian music journalist Marcos Bragatto over the phone for his Rock em Geral site.
Bragatto is an almost notorious figure among Faith No More fans for his open and almost comical disdain for Mike Patton. Indeed in 2003 he penned an article entitled the “The Indescribable Patton widows” in which he baldly and boldly stated:
“”Lost in the rock world crying in every corner, Mike Patton’s widows see a fictional reality, in which the loser former FNM singer appears as a legendary and mythical rock figure”
(Thanks so much to Pablo Fernandez for the translation here and background information)
ROCK EM GERAL: When you came back, in 2009, there was no intention to release an album with new songs. With time you’ve changed your mind. How did that happen?
MB: It happened after we did a couple of concerts and worked it out. So we did a couple more and we finished it without hating each other. It’s like dating a girl, you go and if things go ok and you date a second time, have more fun.
We just wanted to go step by step and we reached a point of playing 30, 40 concerts when it became pretty obvious that the sound we were making was pretty good. And it comes to a point that you can’t do the same thing over and over the whole time, it’s not honest. We were not looking for nostalgia, we didn’t want to keep just what we created in the past, after all that was a 1992 thing, it wasn’t what we were looking for nowadays (today, in the present). We played the songs to see how they would sound, we did the gigs to see if (the songs) still worked and after we got the sense that everything was good, we realised that we have something to say, and so we would say it or stop it for good. That’s when the first new song happened and it was in South America, in the concerts in Argentina, Brazil, I’m not sure when it was (Matador was played for the first time in Buenos Aires in November 2011). So we recorded the album and we’re very happy about it. This is bigger than us, it’s really amazing, because we didn’t expect it, none of us. We didn’t fight, we didn’t screw things up, we didn’t put everything to lose and we have this album done, which is incredible.
ROCK EM GERAL: You seem very excited with the making of this album.
MB:It’s not just me, we all are! It’s different from the other albums we’ve done in the past and different from the time we did the interviews, talking like “we like this or that, the sound is good”(talks in a mocking way)… We all like this new album and I’m really thankful for that. We were not sure about anything, so just figure having a new album today that everyone in the band loves it.. I’m really proud, it’s astonishing!
ROCK EM GERAL: Sometimes it looks like it’s not possible doing some things, but it is!
MB: It’s because we never know. You just have to do in the right order. If in 2009 we’d say that we would be back and make a record.. we hadn’t played together, even seen each other until then. We had to realise who we were, making the music we used to do, who we were onstage so we could know to where we would go. You have to make those steps in the first place before knowing where everything is gonna end and we did it. We did our homework and here we are.
ROCK EM GERAL: Is it true that at the beginning Mike Patton didn’t want to record an album, but then the other band members began to write and then he joined the process?
MB: He joined the process when it was the time to join. Bill already had a lot of demos recorded and he showed me those demos so we could put drums on it, make some arrangements, change this and that. As Bill has said, it was obvious that a FNM record was already on the way because when the drums fits and drums and bass worked out and you can feel it, it’s just a matter to work on it. And then, yes, we started to work with Mike and he liked it and it was amazing because – again – no one was pretty sure that it would work out. We needed to try and we knew that we had to make one step after another. Because if he had to say something, there would be no better way the way we already did, if so better do nothing. We wouldn’t do – me, Bill & Mike – something that wasn’t good enough for ourselves. I’ve to give the best I can when I make music, that’s how FNM is onstage, I give the best I can, for real. It’s the way we do it, we give to the audience the best we have. That’s why I’m proud, I think we can feel that we’re in the same spot, that we’re dealing with something really big.
ROCK EM GERAL: Bill was in charge of production instead trying to work with someone out of the band..
MB: Something was happening during the recording session and everything was getting better and better. The more we recorded the drums in a space, the better it sounded and it was like “we have the songs ready for mixing and we need someone to do that.” After a while, it was pretty obvious that the work that was done on these songs, from Mike for instance – I’d listen to his singing and get crazy about it. His performance in every song is unbelievable. And he did everything on his own, he was his own sound engineer. And it was the same with Bill, songs were becoming more and more developed so it was obvious that no one else could produce the album, honestly. I don’t think that another person could waste time to make this album the way it should be. It was real work made with love, in a clear definition of “labour of love”. It was made by us, and for us. This is FNM the way it really is.
ROCK EM GERAL: Genuinely, pure FNM..
MB: I believe that yes, nobody from outside was in, nobody said what we should or not should do. And that what always happened in the past. Like, the label want this, label has said you have to do that, the manager asked this, we don’t have this anymore..
ROCK EM GERAL: Well, now Mike’s the boss of everyone.. (the record will be released by the label Ipecac, owned by Mike Patton).
MB: (laughs). He’s the president of my record company. Do you have the notion of how that is awesome? But I’ll point out: it had to take all this time to reach this point, we didn’t skip any steps on the way. You’ve to have enough nous and experience to not fuck up everything. That’s why I’m proud. All guilt and merit comes from ourselves.
ROCK EM GERAL: You said that Mike Patton has done a nice work on the singing, but how much did he contribute to the written process?
MB: He’s a big dog. He can go whenever he wants, you know what I mean? He sings the way he wants to sing. The best thing was, during the collaboration process, that he was very comfortable with it. He was having fun doing everything, very comfortable and naturally and it did not seem so hard for him at the end. But what I want to say is when it comes to the crunch, Billy is the man. Because he and Bill work well together, they adjust everything when putting everything together. And about myself, I do more the arrangement, that’s why I need to see how Mike’s is going to do the vocals, what could be more or less from my part, so much more with the arrangements.
ROCK EM GERAL: Because in the end you are a drummer…
MB: Exactly. For that work of composing literally, things stay with Bill and Mike and at some point I saw how good it was, how comfortable. Talking to Mike, he said he loves the album, it was fun to make, he likes it and is very proud of it. Everyone in the band loved the final result, there’s no much more to say than I’m very thankful for all of this.
ROCK EM GERAL All FNM records always has different songs from each other, which is good. But how this works for you guys when you’re writing.. it is like this is a premise to write songs so different from each other?
MB: That’s not a rule, it’s just the way things are..
ROCK EM GERAL: I thought you’d say that.
MB: It has to be this way, because if you try something in a way as a premise, I think it is wrong, because you’ll have someone “driving the bus” that doesn’t own the song. And it never happens the way it should. Talking about past times, when the record companies used to label everything, like “you’re the rock guy, you’re the rap dude, you’re the funk man”, it looks like everything was just one thing. And this band never was like that. Every member on this band can work with a lot of things we’re all different people between us. If all the songs are different between each other or some of them are different from the others, it’s the way we are. And also, if it wasn’t that way, we would get bored. We never did a We Care A Lot Part 3, we’ve changed on every single album, the concept is always make something better than we did.
ROCK EM GERAL: So it looks like it’s hard to pick a song’s name to be the record title. How did you come up with “Sol Invictus”to be the title this time?
MB: We always left this to the last minute and at this time it seems obvious that this would be the song. We pick always for the song and not for the title itself. First came the song “Sol Invictus” and then the album “Sol Invictus”. It was the same with “The Real Thing”, with “KFAD”, Introduce Yourself.. it first comes the music and then the album title. I don’t know, we choose the one that seems obvious for us that has to be title. It is never hard to choose one, we never got into trouble about it, it’s kinda on our feeling, on something that makes sense. In this case, “Sol Invictus” is the right song because, I don’t know, it talks about having self-respect, on doing your best and don’t care about what they say, on making the best you can. It’s hard to talk about it, but it makes sense to me.
ROCK EM GERAL: And why Motherfucker as a single? This song doesn’t look easy to play in radio, for instance, starting with its title…
MB: (laughs): I think it makes some sort of sense, it has Roddy and Mike singing together, which I like. It was one of those songs that Mike did the chorus, Roddy made the verses and it is a simple song, pretty straight. For me the song is simple and strong for a first impression. We played this song live way before the album was done and it was good, it worked. I think the title is good, it gives the message that we’re gonna play our songs the way we want and we’re tired of making something for a radio format, to play that game. That’s our song and we’re gonna play it in our way, that’s the best way to say that.
ROCK EM GERAL: Besides this one, you probably have your favorite tracks on the album..
MB: Honesty I like all my “kids” and I love them together. But I really like “Black Friday” which is a little different, a little uptempo. Matador because it’s huge, intense and emotional, I love “Sol Invictus” and also Sunny Side Up and Cone Of Shame, which has a fabulous vocal performance. Those are the highlights to me, thinking quickly.
ROCK EM GERAL. If a comparison was possible, this record is “more” The Real Thing or Angel Dust?
MB: That’s a good question.. (thinking).. I don’t know why, but I’d probably say Angel Dust.. because it’s a little darker, maybe more emotional and moody, but it’s a great question, no one asked me this before.. (intrigued).. what do you think?
ROCK EM GERAL. I don’t know, I don’t have the answer right now, I’ve to listen to this album more times..
MB: (laughs) That’s a good answer!
ROCK EM GERAL: Do you consider these two the best FNM albums?
MB: I don’t know, I loved the experience of making KFAD. I love this album, but I don’t know, I can find good things in all of them, we always made the best we could at the time of them.
ROCK EM GERAL: When the reunion happened, back in 2009, did you think of calling former guitarist Jim Martin and singer Chuck Mosley, just to play a couple of shows?
MB: We had some talks with Jim, but it didn’t work out. I can’t say a lot about it, but I have to say is that I’m pretty happy with Jon and those two albums that Jim didn’t play on (KFAD and AOTY) I really like. With Jim, I think that we wouldn’t have made those albums…With Chuck we did a couple of concerts in San Francisco, which was pretty fun and I tried to call Jim to be at these same concerts but it simply didn’t work. For me, being in FNM now, in 2015, is definitely about living the present, in something way different from what was in the past otherwise we wouldn’t make this album. I think we took the right decision because we have this album now and if it was not that way we wouldn’t had in any other way.
ROCK EM GERAL: Mike Patton has the reputation of not liking to tour with FNM because he considers FNM “too mainstream” and he prefers to play his smaller side projects. Is that right?
MB: I think this line of reasoning is oversimplified. He could say that in the past, but if I think the same way? No, I don’t. And again: because we have an album we really like and we’re really excited to play it. He’s very into to playing it, is what I said, everything’s working right now the way it should work and that’s way it’s so good being in this band right now. We have an album that everyone agrees on and believes in and we want to play it. That’s what exciting in 2015, it is very special and I like it very much.
ROCK EM GERAL: You are going to play in Rock In Rio next September, have you thought if you’re gonna play a classic setlist or if you going to include a lot of new tunes?
MB: We always mix… We already played songs of this record before its release..We’re gonna play the songs you expect us to play, songs you have no idea we would play and some new ones too..
ROCK EM GERAL: How many songs of the new album have you been playing in recent concerts?
MB: We have already played nine live, the only one we still haven’t is “Rise Of The Fall”. In general we put 3, maybe 4. Between the 20 we play it’s a good percentage of new material. But we don’t play the same new ones every night, we always change.
ROCK EM GERAL: The very first time you came to Brazil was in 1991 at Rock In Rio and since then a lot of people consider this concert one of the best of this festival of all time. What do you remember from this time?
MB: It was insane! It exceeded our expectations. As a person and as a band, we were made for that, for that chaos, for that energy we love and in which we live. We felt a lot this energy and we always thought on coming back, that’s a big part of what we are, is deeply what we are, no mistakes. I think we took it well, it’s special for all of us.
ROCK EM GERAL: Do you consider this one of the best concerts of FNM career?
MB: I don’t know, I never thought about it in that way. Certainly it was one of the most important, no doubt about it. Playing on that big stage with big bands and a huge crowd and having the chance to show who we were with passion and power. Yes, it was a big night, absolutely.